Corrupt Rank Marshals Pocket $1 Million Monthly In Unauthorised Bus Taxes
Bus and commuter omnibus operators in Harare have revealed that rank marshals are colluding with corrupt police and municipal officers to collect unauthorized taxes at bus termini, pocketing an estimated US$1 million each month. The rank marshals, who work with five associations representing the operators, reportedly collect up to US$240,000 per month from each association.
According to Mr. Pious Chidzenga, the head of operations for the Zimbabwe Union of Drivers and Conductors (ZUDAC), each driver is forced to pay US$2 for every trip they make into the rank, resulting in rank marshals earning US$10 per driver daily. This exploitative practice extends over a month, with drivers individually contributing US$300. With over 800 members in ZUDAC alone, the rank marshals accumulate US$240,000 monthly from this association alone. He told The Sunday Mail:
Each driver is compelled to pay US$2 for every one of the five daily trips they make into the rank. Simple multiplication will tell you that rank marshals pocket a substantial US$10 per driver each day. This exploitative practice persists over a month, with drivers contributing US$300 per month individually. When multiplied by the 800 members of ZUDAC alone, the rank marshals accumulate US$ 240,000 monthly. This figure represents just one association out of the more than five operating within Harare.Feedback
During a public transport stakeholders meeting, Harare’s police officer commanding, Commissioner Wonder Tembo, expressed his disapproval of this behavior and announced an upcoming operation to eradicate this criminal syndicate. He acknowledged that some rank marshals falsely claim association with senior political figures but assured stakeholders that the police would not tolerate such behavior. He said:
As officer commanding Harare, I want to mention that as police, we don’t condone such kind of behaviour that is prevailing at various bus ranks. We are having running battles with people who claim they own certain ranks. I have tasked my assistant commissioners to sit down with Harare City Council officials to come up with an operation to tame this menace.
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We are aware that many of these rank marshals hide behind political parties, but we have never received a call from any political party or Government questioning why we have arrested certain troublemakers.
I urge you (council) to also come up with an operation and as law-enforcement agents, we will support you and we will come in our numbers to help you. We don’t want to be the initiators of the job that is supposed to be done by you.
Commissioner Tembo urged operators to resist paying the rank marshals and assured them of police support if they faced intimidation.
Harare’s Mayor, Cllr Jacob Mafume, acknowledged that rank marshals had gained excessive power at council bus stations but assured stakeholders that action would be taken to restore order. He announced plans for the council to take over the ranks and address the situation in the coming month.
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